He was allowed to buy all 3 remaining shells, parts and panels (lucky guy!). John immediately build up one of the shells and successfully raced it at Targa Florio 1970 (VHY5H). The two other shells were built up, one for Alan Zafer and the last shell with 3, 2inch SU's and sold off. There were enough panels and parts for Chatham to build a 4th car- a modsports racer, which was never registered. I have a tape recording of Mr. Chatham discussing these cars, saying he used the alloy engine and " many other goodies that the factory had intended". Interestingly, the engine is moved back 6 inches from the original location.
These facts about the cars are pretty much undisputed. Sadly, used racecars, particularly unsuccessful race versions of unpopular models don't get a great deal of respect. For years, there were only rumors about what happen to the factory racecars that competed in the USA-and as far as the extra engines and parts- who knows?
Now here is where it gets interesting. An English race driver, Graham Nash Wiseman, of Sommerset received a lead from a friend in California in late 1979 that in a scrap yard in San Jacinto was an MG GTS race car with alloy rear hatch and a few boxes of bits and parts. Graham came to the USA, bringing back 80 parts, 2 chassis legs (no shell), a windshield w/Sebring stickers still attached, a chassis plate bearing ADO 52-1061, a bonnet latch panel, and in the boxes of parts, a badly oil soaked log book showing #'s ADO52-1061 and reg..# RMO 699F. Immediately, Graham went to "Swansea" (the British title agency) and received the proper commission # for the car RMO 699F but had to surrender the logbook as proof of its origin. Reluctantly, Graham Wiseman did so but requested its return after its review for historical reasons. When later he asked for its return, Wiseman was told it had been "lost". At least he had a photo of the logbook and # plate (used for a photo shoot/publicity shot for a local newspaper) and a May 24th 1983 Vehicle Registration Document for the car.
Graham began restoration on a limited budget, using fiberglass fender flares, rear hatch and full fiberglass doors in place of the original aluminum panels. In addition, he used triple Dellarto's in place of the original Weber 45 DCOE's. Many articles were written about the "That Ole' MGC Magic" and "Marathon Rebuild Exworks MGC-GTS". By this time, MBL546E, the original 4 cylinder/6 cylinder car had been found in Pound Ridge, New York and put in a museum (sold for $4500w/extra engine!).
Graham went through a sticky divorce and the car was left outside in an impound site for quite some time. He did get it back and after blasting the new rust off , began the restoration again.
(In August's Driveline, the story continues of how "another" RMO699F surfaces, and how Tony winds up with ADO 52-1061.)
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